Hereditary hearing loss is also referred to as congenital hearing loss or genetic hearing loss. It means that someone diagnosed with hearing loss had it passed down to them, in other words genetically. So in fact, hearing loss is not always due to “old age” or exposure to loud noise; a person can actually be born with it. While some genetic factors can make someone more susceptible to hearing loss, in some cases there is just a genetic predisposition for it and in other cases, hearing loss or deafness is caused by a genetic mutation.
According to Wikipedia, about 75 – 80% of inherited hearing loss is in recessive genes, 20 – 25% is from dominant genes, and only 1 -2% are inherited by X-linked patterns; less than 1% is from a mitochondrial inheritance. The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery reports that hearing loss or deafness (congenital) is one of the most common birth defects. It can be found in about 3 babies out of every 1,000 born. It is noted, however, that not all of these births are due to them being hereditary; other factors can come into play including medical problems, environmental causes, trauma, and medications.
Wikipedia details how common hereditary hearing loss is:
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